By Doug Farquhar
Wisconsin, like many states following the lead in water situation in Flint, Mich., struggled to figure out how to fund the replacement of lead service lines.
Most of these lines are privately owned, meaning the water utility could not use public funds for replacement. But in a state where 1-in-10 lines have lead, the Legislature wanted to provide some relief to homeowners seeking to replace their lead service lines.
Senator Robert Cowles (R) introduced Senate Bill 48, which allows a public water utility to provide a grant, loan or both to a property owner for the purpose of assisting the owner in replacing the portion of a lead-containing water service line. Property owners will have several options to repay the loan.
Other states and utilities are exploring options to fund the replacement of lead service lines, both the public lines and lines on private property. Eleven states, including California, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Vermont, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin, have committed funding to replacing lead service lines through a combination of grants and/or rate increases.
NCSL is hosting a webinar at 2 p.m. ET, Friday, Nov. 17, dealing with state approaches to financing the replacement of lead service lines. Wisconsin Senate Bill 48 sponsor Cowles and Assembly co-sponsor Jeremy Thiesfeldt will discuss Wisconsin’s approach. Steve Via from American Water Works and Tom Neltner from the Environmental Defense Fund will talk about approaches other states have taken.
Listen in to the NCSL Webinar on Financing Options to Replacing Lead Service Lines to learn about state approaches to funding the replacement of lead service lines.
Doug Farquhar directs the Environmental Health program at NCSL.